The Crookston Pirate Baseball team had opportunities but came up just short in a 6-5 loss to the Hawley Nuggets on Friday evening at Jim Karn Field.

Hawley would get the leadoff hitter aboard in the top of the first inning thanks to a Pirate error, and after a stolen base and a couple of flyouts, he would advance to third on a wild pitch. Ryan Sperr would then drive the run in with a two-out double and the Nuggets would take an early 1-0 lead.

Crookston got the run back in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff single by Carter Coauette, a stolen base, and an RBI single from Blake Melsa. The next three Pirate hitters would be retired by Hawley starting pitcher Thomas Slette, and the game would head into the second inning tied at 1-1.

The Nuggets would get a leadoff hit in the top of the second, and after a stolen base, a groundout moved him to third with one out. Pirates pitcher Jack Doda would pick up a big strikeout for the second out of the inning, but Colton Bratsch would get a big two-out single to score the run as Hawley moved back in front 2-1.

The Pirates would take advantage of two Nuggets errors to put runners on second and third base in the bottom of the second with nobody out. Jackson Demarais then singled to left field to tie the game at 2-2 scoring George Widman, but Crookston would strand two runners with three straight strikeouts to end the inning as they missed out on an opportunity to claim a lead.

Matt Contreras would come in to pitch the third inning and work around two infield singles and a walk getting out of a bases-loaded jam to keep the game tied at 2-2. Crookston took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the frame. Alex Longoria started the inning with a walk, and after a passed ball moved him to second base, he would get in a rundown but made it safely to third base. With one out, Gavyn Hlucny would ground out to first base scoring Longoria and giving the Pirates the 3-2 lead after three complete innings of play.

Hawley evened things back up in the top of the fourth inning. Carter Ambuehl drew a leadoff walk and would steal second base. The throw to second base would get away from the Pirates middle infield allowing Ambuehl to move to third. Crookston tried to throw Ambuehl out at third base as well and threw the ball out of play allowing him to take home and just like that tie the game at 3-3. The rest of the inning was fairly quiet, and Crookston had just one hit from Jackson Demarais in the bottom of the inning but nothing more. That kept the game tied at 3-3 as we headed into the top of the fifth inning. 

The Nuggets had one hitter reach in the top of the fifth on an error, but Matt Contreras worked around it and pitched another scoreless inning for Crookston. Alex Longoria would produce a run on his own in the bottom of the fifth inning. He would single to right field, steal second base, reach third on a passed ball, and score on a wild pitch to give Crookston a 4-3 lead. Nothing more happened in the bottom of the fifth, and Crookston would head to the field for the sixth inning in front 4-3.

Alex Longoria would be given the ball in the top of the sixth inning. After a strikeout, a one-out single, stolen base, and a wild pitch put the tying run on third base. A Crookston error on a ground ball then brought the tying run home to score, and a sacrifice bunt then put the go-ahead run on second base with two outs. Thomas Slette would deliver a two-out single to bring home the go-ahead run as Hawley reclaimed the lead 5-4.

In the Pirates bottom of the sixth inning, George Widman was hit by a pitch and advanced all the way to third base on a wild pitch and stolen base. After a strikeout, Jackson Demarais hit a shot at the shortstop, who stared Widman back to third and threw Demarais out at first base. On the throw, Widman tried to advance home. The Nuggets first baseman fired a strike to the catcher who applied the tag on Widman on a bang-bang play for the final out of the inning to keep the Nuggets in front 6-5 heading into the final inning of play.

Hawley added one run in the top of the seventh inning with a leadoff walk, stolen base, and two wild pitches. That gave the Nuggets a 6-4 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning with Crookston needing at least two runs to keep the game going.

After Thomas Slette struck out the first hitter in the seventh, he was forced to exit the game due to the pitch count rule. Dustin Gerdes would come in to try and close the game out. He would strike the next hitter out, but Blake Melsa would reach on an error, and Alex Longoria would walk putting runners on first and second base. Ethan Boll would then hit a ball that the first baseman would miss, allowing Tanner Giese (who pinch ran for Melsa) to come home and score bringing the deficit to 6-5. With runners on first and third, Ethan Boll would steal second base, putting the winning run in scoring position. Gavyn Hlucny would have a chance to win the game for the Pirates and drive a liner to the outfield, but it would be right at the centerfielder who would make a sliding grab to end the game and rob the Pirates of a walk-off win.

Crookston drops to 3-12 on the season. Hawley improves to 8-8 with the win.



1 1 0 1 0 2 1 6 7 3
1 1 1 0 1 0 1 5 5 5


Jack Doda- Crox 2 3 2 1 0 1
Matt Contreras- Crox 3.2 2 1 0 3 3
Alex Longoria- Crox (LP) 2.1 2 3 1 1 3
Thomas Slette- Hawley (WP) 6.1 5 4 3 2 9
Dustin Gerdes- Hawley (S) 0.2 0 1 0 0 1

For Crookston-
Alex Longoria- 1 for 2, 2 Runs, Stolen Base, 2 Walks
Jackson Demarais- 2 for 3, RBI
Blake Melsa- 1 for 4, RBI
Carter Coauette- 1 for 4, Run

For Hawley-
Thomas Slette- 2 for 4, RBI
Mason Gratton- 2 for 4, Run, Stolen Base, Walk
Colton Bratsch- 2 for 3, RBI, Run, Stolen Base